Written by Meghan Rhodes MCPP MAPA
If you’ve been searching for the right herbal medicine course for you, you’re probably wondering how to choose between a herbal medicine course online or in-person, as there are many options for both. Here are my top tips as a qualified herbalist who has done both and teaches herbal medicine courses online and in-person.
1. What is the depth of knowledge you are looking for?
If you’re looking for quick information, a short answer or top-level facts, a herbal medicine course online could be the right choice for you. They’re often on-demand, making them easily accessible at any time or from any location. They can be great for learning one specific skill, such as making one type of herbal remedy.
However, if you want to learn something at great depth, the longer a herbal medicine course online, the more challenging it is to complete. Life gets in the way, study schedules get backlogged and completion - let alone true comprehension - are not guaranteed. In my experience, deep learning is best done at least partially in-person.
2. Do you want live interaction with your tutor?
Some herbal medicine courses online do offer interaction with the tutor, although it’s not always live or during a time you can make, as many herbal medicine courses online span multiple time zones. Some herbal medicine courses online do have quick and brilliant support directly from the tutor (such as the herb-infused oils course I recommend), but others are from a support team. Rarely are you able to ask questions in the moment as you’re working through the course content as you can when joining an in-person course.
3. Do you want to get hands-on?
You can follow along with a step-by-step video for a herbal medicine course online, but if you really want to get hands-on and be able to ask your trusted tutor if something looks right, smells right, tastes right or if you’ve identified a plant properly, blended a remedy properly, understood something properly, an in-person herbal medicine course would provide you with more of the support you’re looking for.
4. Will a herbal medicine course online give you real community?
Yes, you’ll likely have a student forum to chat with each other, but as wonderful as it is to be connected with people all over the world virtually, digital connections don’t translate into real community. Real community comes with an in-person herbalism course - especially if it’s fairly local to you, meaning you can share supplies, go foraging together, have group making sessions, go to exhibitions and gardens together and drop herbal care packages by when someone needs the support of a real friend.
5. What is your schedule like?
If it’s very hectic or you work odd hours, you may find a herbal medicine course online will be more convenient for you, especially if lessons are on-demand. However, there is something incredibly nourishing and fulfilling about carving out time for yourself in your diary to attend an in-person herbal medicine course and learn with others. It ultimately depends on what’s on offer and what works for your schedule, but if you can find an in-person course you can get to and prioritise in your diary, I highly recommend it.
6. Is there a hybrid option?
One way to get the best of both worlds is a hybrid course - one that meets live regularly online amongst in-person gatherings. This means you don’t have to commit to too much travelling time, but that you still get access to consistency, community and hands-on learning. It’s even better if everything is recorded, so you can always revisit something another time after learning live with the tutor.
When choosing between a herbal medicine course online or one in-person, ask yourself these questions: What is the depth of knowledge you are looking for? Do you want live interaction with your tutor? Will a herbal medicine course online give you real community? What is your schedule like? Is there a hybrid option? Once you’ve had a think about your answer to each, you’ll have a clearer sense of what herbal medicine course is right for you.
If you’re here in the UK and would prefer to learn herbalism in-person, you’re very welcome to take the next step on your journey learning herbal medicine with me. I offer day-long herbalism workshops and pop-up herbalism workshops, as well as my intensive herbalism course - Awaken Herbal Wisdom - which spans all four seasons and gets herbalism both deep into your bones and your daily life. It is a hybrid course, blending live online sessions and in-person gatherings with everything recorded for ongoing reference, so it’s the best of both worlds. So head to my events page to see what’s coming up or learn more about my herbal medicine course here.
Whatever herbal medicine course you choose, I hope you enjoy the journey!